J.M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan said “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” and lately I’ve been trying to understand how people develop the belief (even if unconsciously) that they aren’t good enough to have a healthy relationship. I’ve been pondering why perfectly “good enough” people doubt whether they can fly high in healthy relationships. Truth be told, I take no pleasure in this endeavor because at one point my life I too was a person who self sabotaged their intimate relationships, I too didn’t believe I was worthy of a healthy relationship.
Still; lately I’ve been noticing a troubling trend among daters and I’m wondering if their belief in their inability to fly has damaged them in the dating world forever. Obviously the metaphor is not about flying at all but instead it’s about the doubt that prevents you from even trying. It’s about the fear of falling before you even launch, before you even understand, and before you even get the opportunity to truly be in love.
So naturally I’ve been trying to examine the unfortunate truth about people who self sabotage relationships due to the fact that they don’t believe they’re good enough and of course the best way for me to do this is to examine my own life and then compare that to other people I know to determine some form of understanding about “not being good enough”. It’s a daunting task and it’s one that can’t be answered in one article but I do want to tackle one section of the many moving parts of the “not good enough personality flaw”.
Question; what responsibility or role do we as daters play in trying to convince the person we’re dating that they’re good enough for us? That’s the question that I’m going to try to find an answer to in this article because quite frankly I think there are many people self sabotaging their relationships because ultimately they don’t believe they’re good enough. Is it up to us, the dater, partner and lover of the one who sabotages to help them through their issues? And if so, how much?
I remember at the end of my last relationship my then girlfriend said to me that she “realized that she’ll never be good enough for me”. I found this to be completely ridiculous, not because I didn’t believe her words but because I never once said anything in a negative way towards her to make her feel that way about our relationship. In fact, I went out of my way to accept her as she was. I went out of my way to speak life into her and her living situation. I never once told her she wasn’t good enough for me and never did any actions (as far as I’m aware) to make her feel like she wasn’t.
Were there things that I saw that she could improve on? Absolutely, and I suggested things that could be done. Were there things that she saw that I could improve on? Absolutely, and I tried to change once she brought it to my attention but like many things in life; changing into something new takes dedication, fortitude and a true desire to want to do better but more importantly it takes the belief that you can do better.
Identifying things in your partner that can benefit them is natural. That’s part of what being in a healthy relationship entails. Your partner should identify areas in your life that one, can be improved and two, that they can help you with. If your partner isn’t identifying things that can be improved in your life then they don’t really care about your overall well-being. If you aren’t identifying and suggesting things in the person you’re dating life then you don’t really care about them. Why be together if it’s all about staying the same?
Constant criticism is not the goal nor is that healthy but partners can’t get defensive when your partner tries to show you a better way to live. If you do, one can’t help but wonder if you care about your very own happiness and believe me when I say that not caring about your happiness will frustrate your partner even more than you not receiving their advice.
Furthermore, there will always be a few things that your partner likes that you’ll change towards because you want to please them. For example, maybe you like your man to have a little hair on his chest or maybe you like your lady to wear a little bit of makeup and you suggest a slight change.
There’s nothing wrong with that and there’s nothing wrong with you adapting and adopting small changes for the person you love. All of that is to be expected in relationships. If my lady tells me she likes a certain cologne over another cologne that I normally wear then I’m going to wear the cologne she likes more often and not get defensive.
Still, with that said I often wonder if I didn’t do enough to help my ex feel like she was good enough. I often wonder if I could have said more, shown more, and done more to make her feel come confident in the relationship. Was there anything I could have done to make her feel good enough? Do we have any responsibility to do so and would it make a difference?
As a person who lived much of his adult life as such a person who thought he wasn’t good enough, I can speak frankly to this experience and I can speak absolute truth to sabotaging my previous relationships in my twenties and I can say without a shadow of doubt that in my personal experience there was nothing that those women could have done to make me feel completely at ease about my worthiness.
Those women could have told me how much they liked me, loved me and adored me every five minutes and it still wouldn’t have given me the lift I needed. I still wouldn’t have believed I could fly and I would have found a reason as to why it can’t be. Like many people; I ran away from perfectly healthy relationships or found illogical excuses and convinced myself that they were valid reason’s as to why they and I couldn’t be.
Maybe you’ve been doing this as well and maybe you’ve been blaming your ex lovers as to why none of your relationships have worked but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that we always have to account for the common denominator, which is always ourselves. You have to always account for yourself, your thoughts, your actions and your old bad habits. You have to be aware when the thing that constantly sabotages your relationships tries to reestablish its dominance over you.
The main responsibility that a dater, partner or lover has in the development of someone is to speak life into them. They don’t have to take on your burden, your flaws, your worries or your insecurities unless they want to and if they do; it’s up to you to make quick changes so that it doesn’t bring them down.
It’s not up to the dater to convince you that you’re good enough. It’s up to you to know it to be true because if you’re relying on other people to justify your good enough then you’re giving up the control that only you should have. You’re ultimately placing your worthiness in what other people think and view as good enough.
Why does this happen? The better question is why do you allow it to happen? Why do you believe that you don’t deserve someone who loves you? Why do you continue to allow those who don’t live your life to control your life? Why do you continue to conspicuously go ghost the moment someone shows you your worthiness? If you’re dating someone who does these things it can be utterly frustrating right? It’s maddening when you go out of your way to show your appreciation thinking you’re making progress together and a month later you’re back at square one or even worse. Why does this happen?
There are many reason’s why people do this and I believe that Women Have It harder for various reason’s but comparing yourself to others and what they have is one of the biggest reason’s as to why people don’t feel good enough as stated by @timgoetzinger in his piece Monsters in the Bed: Enough IS Enough but what can a person do to break away from self sabotage? Here are a few tips I call the Divine 9.
The Divine Nine
Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Evaluate your past relationships and identify common problem areas that came up. Tackle them with ferocity.
Pay attention to your insecurities and stop them from gaining momentum when they show up in your new relationships again and then do the opposite of what your insecurities make you feel like doing.
Try to remove your ego from the equation. Ask yourself if you have a valid reason to be bothered or is it just your ego trying to convince you that it isn’t an ego bruise.
Get help! Find someone to talk with about the problems that you’re dealing with mentally and listen to the feedback.
Work on your self-love.
Find closure on the issues from your childhood that are causing issues in your adulthood.
Find closure from your past relationships. Many people are continuing to allow people who are long gone to remain in present moments.
Bask in the compliments, acceptance and love that your partner gives you. Live in those moments but more importantly TRUST in them.
May these words strike a chord inside anyone whose eyes have been glued to this screen. Understand from this moment on that you’re more than good enough, you’re God enough because God is you, in you and created you. So unless you believe that God creates inferior versions of God self then you’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that you’re good enough for anyone and deserve the healthiest and happiest relationships that life can bring.
“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”
― Beth Moore,
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